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Elliott School of International Affairs

In a meeting Friday night, Dean Brigety assured the the Elliott School will continue to be a place where diversity is accepted and encouraged.  Keegan Mullen | Hatchet Photographer

In a meeting Friday night, Dean Brigety assured the the Elliott School will continue to be a place where diversity is accepted and encouraged. Keegan Mullen | Hatchet Photographer

Updated: Nov. 12, 2016 at 11:33 a.m.

This post was written by reporter Cort Carlson.

Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Reuben Brigety held a town hall meeting to openly discuss the presidential election results Friday afternoon.

The meeting was open to all students, faculty, and staff and was live-streamed online. Brigety moderated the discussion and began by assuring guests that the Elliott School will continue to be a place where diversity is accepted and encouraged.

Brigety reminded those present to keep their questions and comments relatively short and to be respectful of each other throughout the discussion.

“We thought it was important for us to gather as a community and just talk,” Brigety said.

Roughly 100 members of the GW community were in attendance at the event hosted in the Elliott School, including undergraduate, graduate and international students, as well as professors of international affairs and one ambassador.

Students posed questions to Brigety and all others assembled about how to understand President-elect Donald Trump’s wide popularity.

Brigety said that while it is fair to have reasonable policy differences, the extreme divisiveness of this election is something that he has not seen in other elections.

“We are in a place in our country where we haven’t been in a very long time,” Brigety said. “I certainly cannot remember a presidential election eliciting mass protests in multiple major American cities within 24 hours.”

Students wondered if Trump’s administration will reduce their chances at securing government jobs after graduation.

One student, a junior in the Elliott School, expressed concern about her dreams to join the United States Foreign Service, and how that will be affected by the new president.

“I am looking to join the Foreign Service eventually,” she said. “My morals and the things that I believe in have sometimes contrasted with what Donald Trump has said.”

A graduate student in the Elliott School also asked how to accept Trump as the next president while still supporting personal values.

“I am having an identity crisis about whether or not we as a country have a duty to denounce some things that President-elect Trump has said,” she said. “I want this to be something we can do together.”

As members of the audience discussed the question, they came to the conclusion that it is possible to denounce Trump’s behavior while still accepting him as the future president.

One student asked how to make advance progressive values despite the election of a largely conservative government.

A second-year graduate student at the Elliott School, had an answer: “Encourage people to no longer be bystanders,” she said.

While other students reminded the audience of social media’s potential as a platform to both broadcast and denounce bigotry, the graduate student highlighted the importance of writing to members of Congress about their concerns.

After students and faculty posed questions and responded to each other, Brigety encouraged the audience to seek out meaningful conversations with people of differing viewpoints.

“Communities are institutions, meaning that they are only as good as the people who make them up,” Brigety said. “That’s how we are going to continue to have a great country.”

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Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Reuben Brigety, pictured speaking, will be appointed to the National Security Education Board.  Jack Borowiak | Hatchet Photographer

Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Reuben Brigety, pictured speaking, will be appointed to the National Security Education Board. Jack Borowiak | Hatchet Photographer

Updated: Oct. 31, 2016 at 3:19 p.m.

Reuben Brigety, the dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, will likely become a member of the National Security Education Board, according to a White House press release.

The release said President Barack Obama intends to appoint Brigety, as well as other individuals including several professors and educators, to various “key administration posts.”

“These fine public servants bring a depth of experience and tremendous dedication to their important roles. I look forward to working with them,” Obama said in the release.

The National Security Education Board is a 14-member board made up of eight Cabinet-level departments and six presidential appointments, according to its website. The NSEB advises the National Security Education Program on skills needed on the national security workforce and provides guidance on “hiring practices, internships and clearances, as well as to assist in crafting policy and guidelines,” according to the board’s website.

Brigety came to the University at the beginning of the last academic year. Before then he served as the U.S. representative to the African Union and as a deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs and in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

This post has been updated to reflect the following clarification:
Brigety will remain dean of the Elliott School while serving on the NSEB, as the administrative position is a part-time post.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Daniella Olonilua.

A year into his position as dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, Reuben Brigety spoke with students, alumni, and faculty members at the school Thursday evening about the standing of the school and its future direction.

Brigety spoke about initiatives that the school launched this past year as well as alumni and faculty accomplishments. He also discussed future events and programs that the school will be hosting to enhance student learning outside of the classroom.

Here are some of the highlights from the dean’s talk:

1. Faculty task force on ethics

A new faculty task force will work to focus the curriculum of the international affairs program in relation to ethics, Brigety said. The task force, led by Christopher Kojm, an endowed professor of international affairs, will work alongside the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

There will also be a Courage in Action speaker series that will feature officials working in the fields of ethics and international Affairs, Brigety added.

“These speakers can tell our students the importance of ethics and the importance of courage, lived courage, in their practice of international affairs,” Brigety said.

2. Faculty accomplishments

Brigety said faculty at the Elliott School continue to be pioneers in top research on global issues. Last year, these faculty members were awarded more than $11 million in grants, a more than 300 percent increase since 2012, he said.

“Our faculty are the foundation of our programs and they create the groundwork for our educational process,” Brigety said.

Marc Lynch, a professor of political science and international affairs, was named a Carnegie fellow for his research on the Middle East, Brigety added.

3. New initiatives

Brigety also announced two new initiatives to expand global outreach and policy at the school.

The first is a program on international disaster resilience and humanitarian affairs, a $25 million research project that will expand course offerings and student opportunities on those topics, Brigety said.

The second is an initiative on gender equality in international affairs, which will supersede the school’s previous gender program, he said. Brigety said it will be led by Aisling Swaine, the director of the Center on Gender Equality in International Affairs in the school, and will allow students and faculty to work on a more comprehensive approach to gender equality in international affairs.

“We at the Elliott School provide the next young generation of leaders with the tools they need to be the most diverse, the most abled, the most adaptable, the most ready, to embrace change,” Brigety said.

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The Colombian ambassador to the U.S. talked about peace in the country at an Elliott School event Tuesday. Max Sall | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The Colombian ambassador to the U.S. talked about peace in the country at an Elliott School event Tuesday. Max Sall | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Mabel Kabani.

Juan Carlos Pinzon, Colombia’s ambassador to the U.S., spoke with students and faculty members at the Elliott School of International Affairs Tuesday evening about Colombia’s transformation from unrest to peace.

As the former senior adviser to the executive director of the World Bank, Pinzon said he is familiar with D.C. and GW, specifically. He began his speech highlighting the benefits of attending a university in the U.S. capital.

Pinzon introduced basic facts about Colombia and then discussed the country’s recent political, economic and social transformation.

Here are some highlights from the ambassador’s talk:

1. Colombia’s decline

Although the Barometer of Happiness and Hope once ranked Colombia as the happiest nation in the world due to its “long-lasting democracy,” Pinzon said crime rates, homicides and drug trafficking made the country less peaceful about 20 years ago.

Around the same time, Colombia’s economy also began to destabilize and people fled the country in search of safer and more stable lifestyles, Pinzon said. Unemployment rates reached 21 percent and the country had negative GDP growth in the 1990’s.

“The entire social tissue of the nation was collapsing as opportunities to progress ran out,” Pinzon said.

2.’Plan Colombia’

“Plan Colombia,” a U.S. diplomatic and military project to battle drug cartels and guerrilla groups in Colombia, spurred real progress for the country, Pinzon said.

The program was successful because it secured and legitimized Colombian armed forces and strengthened the justice system, he said.

“This was critical to help us build development that is important for years to come,” Pinzon said.

3. Peace process

Pinzon said that Colombia’s current president, Juan Manuel Santos, has consistently pushed for peace: He wrote a peace accord that won him the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. The peace accord, which citizens recently voted against, called to include members of FARC  – the most notorious guerrilla group – in Colombia’s parliament.

Santos thought this would give Colombia the chance for a new future, Pinzon said. Though the accord didn’t pass, it did “instill a new ideology in the minds of Colombians” about what it takes to achieve peace, he added.

4. Recent improvements

Twenty years ago, about 30,000 homicides occurred in a year, but now the homicide rate in Colombia has dropped to 13,000 per year, Pinzon said. He added that the number of rebel group members has dropped, and kidnapping numbers are lower than they have been in 20 years.

Pinzon said Colombia has been recognized as one of the top economic performers internationally and the country has been left out of the University of Mexico’s annual list of most violent countries in recent years.

“Things aren’t easy or fast and there is no timeline for when this will be over,” Pinzon said. “However, here is an opportunity for the end to finally result in a more stable, long term and extended peace.”

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OAS Assistant Secretary General, H.E. Nestor Mendez, speaks about a "hemispheric mission" for the OAS. Anne McBride | Hatchet Staff Photographer

OAS Assistant Secretary General, H.E. Nestor Mendez, speaks about a “hemispheric mission” for the OAS. Anne McBride | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Elizabeth Georgakopoulos.

Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States H.E. Nestor Mendez spoke to students, faculty and members of the Elliott School of the International Affairs Tuesday night about the OAS mission of promoting a “hemispheric agenda” for the western hemisphere.

As an alumnus, Mendez is no stranger to GW, receiving his master’s degree from the Elliott School in international policy and practice. Before his OAS position, he served as the ambassador of Belize to the United States and worked on issues that affected regions like the Caribbean and South America.

“The main goal is and has always been to ensure that any decision reached would have a positive impact on the lives of the people of the Americas,” Mendez said of the OAS.

As the world’s oldest regional organization and only hemispheric institute, the OAS has had an extensive history in serving in the Latin American community, Mendez said. He added that their mission was founded upon four main pillars, all of which are of equal importance.

Here’s what he said about those pillars and how they’ve fit into OAS’s mission over the years.

1. Democracy

While protecting and stabilizing democracy, the OAS has been heavily involved with observing electoral processes and deals with many complex and sensitive political problems, Mendez said. The Electoral Observation Mission initiative was founded as a response to these issues in Latin America.

“It has become a key instrument in the promotion and defense of democracy,” Mendez said.

The creation of these institutions came about to ensure the integrity and credibility of electoral processes within these countries, he added.

2. Human rights

Mendez said in order for a member state to produce a stable and peaceful democracy, fundamental human rights must be respected. The creation of two institutions, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, ensures the protection of the people of the Americas, he said.

“Both provide recourse to citizens who have suffered violations of their rights by the state,” Mendez said.

3. Multidimensional security

The OAS has taken measures in controlling security matters involving terrorism and crime in the region, Mendez said. OAS is involved in multiple public service initiatives like increasing law enforcement, offering training programs and implementing preventative strategies like job creation and improving access to education, he said.

Mendez said that OAS’s specialization is not only in reducing crime, but also in providing resources to victims.

“It is worth noting that last year alone, support was provided to more than 140 Colombian, Peruvian, and Ecuadorian victims to assist them with their physical and psychological rehabilitation and socio economic reintegration,” Mendez said.

4. Internal development

Poverty, inequality, migration and water resources are just a few of the issues that need to be addressed in Latin America, Mendez said. The OAS has two primary roles in fostering change in this region: Engaging in a dialogue with member states to push for cooperation, and forging a consensus on how to address the problems at hand, he added.

One response to the heightened trends of immigration and poverty is the creation of the Continuous Reporting System on International Immigration in the Americas, which Mendez said is the only hemispheric benchmark that provides information on migration flows and regulatory frameworks of programs and policies in the hemisphere.

Other initiatives in place in Latin America include the implementation of partnership between member states, in regards to climate change, and water diplomacy, he said.

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Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 10:49 a.m.

Internet and phone service outages reported

Updated: Jan. 11, 2016 at 1:15 p.m.

The Division of Information Technology reported phone and Internet service interruptions in multiple locations Monday morning.

Students and faculty in Old Main, Thurston Hall, Alumni House, 1959 E Street and the Elliott School of International Affairs building were not able to access phone, Internet and wireless services, according to an 8 a.m. service alert on the division’s website.

“We are currently investigating, and working to resolve this issue as soon as possible,” the alert reads.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said service was restored to all buildings except Alumni House, where the Office of Alumni Relations is housed, by 10:30 a.m. and she attributed the service interruption to “an unforeseen technical issue.”

“Service was interrupted because of an unforeseen technical issue. As soon as we identified the issue, technicians worked quickly to restore service. By 10:30 a.m. all buildings but the Alumni House were operational, with Alumni House expected to have full service restored by early afternoon,” she said.

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The Elliott School received about $2.5 million in Carnegie Grants. Hatchet file photo by Katie Causey

The Elliott School received about $2.5 million in Carnegie Grants. Hatchet file photo by Katie Causey, Photo Editor.

Four faculty members at the Elliott School of International Affairs received Carnegie Grants totaling nearly $2.5 million, according to a University release.

Charlie Glaser, Henry Hale, Marc Lynch and Janne Nolan, all professors of international affairs, earned the grants to support projects on Eurasian studies, Middle Eastern politics, bipartisan nuclear security solutions and nuclear policies toward China, respectively.

Reuben Brigety, the dean of the Elliott School who began his tenure last month, said in the release that these awards demonstrate the schools position “as the preeminent place to create policy-relevant research.”

“We look forward to continuing our joint efforts to connect the school’s research, and that of the broader academic community, to policymakers around the world,” Brigety said.

Hale, the co-director of the Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia, received $800,000 to develop security and policy approaches in Russia and Eurasia, and plans to use the grant to understand and come up with possible solutions to the Russia-Ukraine war, the Syrian crisis and U.S.-Russia relations.

Glaser will put $450,000 from Carnegie toward a series of articles on U.S.-China nuclear relations. Nolan received a $530,000 to also fund a group of experts on nuclear relations.

The Carnegie Corporation renewed its funding of the Institute for Middle East Studies, which Lynch runs, with a $700,000.

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Dean Rueben E. Brigety II laid out his plans for the Elliott School of International Affairs Thursday. Paige James | Hatchet Photographer

Dean Rueben E. Brigety II laid out his plans for the Elliott School of International Affairs Thursday. Paige James | Hatchet Photographer

When it comes to strengthening international affairs education, Reuben E. Brigety II is starting with the man in the mirror at his new task at hand – leading the Elliott School of International Affairs.

Brigety spoke to faculty, administrators and students Thursday, his first official day on the job as dean. The former U.S. representative to the African Union was hired in August.

Here are the main takeaways of Brigety’s vision for the future of the Elliott School:

1. Building leaders for the world

Brigety started the event by showing the music video of Michael Jackson’s hit song “Man in the Mirror,” saying the specific crises shown in the video have changed since its creation in 1987, but the world still needs leaders to solve international problems.

“What the daunting challenges of today have in common with those seemingly impossible challenges of the past, is that their resolutions require leaders,” he said. “Leaders who have knowledge, leaders with skills, leaders with character. And that is why we are here to build leaders. To build leaders for the world.”

Brigety said he will take an already high-ranked international affairs school and “place it firmly” among the most elite institutions by asking those in the school to work together even more than they already are doing.

2. Taking a STEP forward

Brigety said his goals for his tenure as dean of the Elliott School are to be as “collaborative and transparent as possible” by focusing on STEP: scholarship, teaching, ethics and practice.

He promised to promote scholarship in the school by providing resources for tenured and non-tenured faculty to achieve success in their research, and acquire scholarship grants.

Brigety recognized research as important to the Elliott School, but its “heart and its soul” lies in its students, which is why he will emphasize quality teaching. He said he encourages faculty to meet with students outside of class, like he did when he was a professor at George Mason and American universities.

“I regularly met students for music and coffee in sessions I called ‘jazz with Dr. B,'” Brigety said. “I hope to institute similar sessions here on Foggy Bottom, so students, be on the lookout for ‘jazz with Dean B.'”

He also plans to strengthen the application of ethics to international affairs during his tenure, so students can not only know about relations with other countries, but also how best to create those relationships.

3. Remembering names

“How do you plan to remember all these people’s names?” Brigety’s son asked during a question and answer session.

Brigety said his priority, especially at the beginning of his tenure this fall, is to get to know and collaborate with as many stakeholders in the Elliott School as possible.

He has already set up a series of meetings over the next month to get to know faculty and students, and even has a coffee date planned for Thursday afternoon with a dozen students.

Brigety is also scheduled to travel internationally in November to meet with donors and potential students.

4. A future in Africa

Brigety promised in increased concentration on African affairs in the school by creating an institute for African studies, an area that faculty have said needs attention.

“By the time it’s done, it will be the place, certainly in Washington, if not in the country to do African-related policy and research. That’s how strongly I feel about it,” Brigety said.

He said he’s open to debate on who will lead the program and the specifics of what the program will be, but he wants to get it under way “sooner rather than later.”

Brigety served as the U.S. representative to the African Union and also worked as a deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of African Affairs and in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. He said a knowledge of Africa is essential for anyone working in international affairs today.

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The U.S. representative to the African Union will be the new dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, the University announced Monday.

Reuben E. Brigety II will take the helm from former long-serving dean Michael Brown, who stepped down from the post at the end of June.

Brigety is also the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. He previously served as a deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of African Affairs and in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, according to a release. In those positions, he oversaw southern African and regional security affairs as well as U.S. refugee programs in Africa, developed international migration policies and managed humanitarian diplomacy.

Brigety cited his past field work in regions from the Middle East to the Caribbean as showing that he can combine his scholarly work with practical experience, a combination experts have said will be essential for the new dean to have.

“I believe young people come to the Elliott School because they want to engage with the hardest challenges of our time. Our job is to prepare them both intellectually and practically to make the world a better place, and that’s what I’m excited to do in this new position,” Brigety said in a statement.

Brigety will begin on Oct. 1, and interim dean Hugh Agnew will continue serve in the position through the transition.

Brigety was chosen as one of three top candidates by a search committee made up of Elliott School faculty and students before being selected by University President Steven Knapp and Provost Lerman this summer.

“Ambassador Brigety is an outstanding leader whose vision and experience will raise the Elliott School’s already prominent reputation in international affairs education, policy and research,” Knapp said in a release. “I look forward to working with him on strengthening our existing programs and research, as well as exploring new opportunities that will enhance our students’ GW experience.”

The former U.S. navy officer has previously taught government and politics at George Mason University and peer school American University and conducted research missions in Iraq and Afghanistan for the Human Rights Watch. He has also worked at the Center for American Progress, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Central Command Assessment team in D.C. and in Doha, Qatar.

Brigety is the 10th black official named to a top post at GW since 2010.

He will lead one of the top-ranked international affairs schools in the country, often described as the “crown jewel” of GW’s schools. Under Brown’s 10-year tenure, the school doubled its number of research institutes and brought on about 20 new faculty members, and has consistently been highly ranked by publications such as Foreign Affairs magazine.

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A longtime faculty member of the Elliott School of International Affairs will take over the position of the school’s interim dean next month, according to a University release.

Hugh Agnew, a professor of history and international affairs and the senior associate dean for academic and faculty affairs at the Elliott School, will start his role as interim dean July 1, Provost Steven Lerman announced to the school’s faculty and GW leadership Friday. Agnew will continue in the position until a permanent replacement is announced for dean Michael Brown, who officially steps down from the post on the same date.

Agnew, who came to GW in 1988, said in an interview Monday that he is “humbled” by the appointment and will continue his current duties at the Elliott School while fulfilling the dean’s responsibilities. His plans for the summer include welcoming new faculty arriving at the school for the academic year and maintaining the “rhythm of the school” until the new dean takes over.

“I see my role as carrying this accomplishment into the new hands of the new dean without dropping it,” Agnew said.

Agnew has previously served as associate dean for academic programs and associate dean for faculty affairs at the school. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses primarily focused on eastern Europe, and has written extensively on Czech nationalism.

Brown announced in October that he would leave the dean post at the end of the academic year but would continue in a faculty role at the school. Since then, a dean search committee made up of Elliott School students and faculty vetted candidates and brought them to campus before sending on their top three unranked choices to Lerman and University President Steven Knapp, who will make the final appointment. That announcement is expected to come at some point over the coming weeks although the process can sometimes take longer, search committee chair Jennifer Brinkerhoff said in an email earlier this month.

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